Do Wednesday just have to turn up?

Sheffield Wednesday will arrive in SE7 on Saturday in eighth place and unbeaten in their last eleven games. They have conceded just one goal in their last five matches. They held leaders Brighton to a draw on Tuesday evening and they beat a strong Arsenal side 3-0 in the League Cup just ten days ago.  They will be full of confidence.

Charlton are currently second only to Blackpool as the laughing stock of the Football League.  They have had five managers (coaches) in eighteen months. They have lost their last five games without scoring a goal. They haven't scored for a month while they have conceded eleven. They have managed thirteen shots on target since Jordan Cousin's last minute equaliser against Fulham.   That is a shot on target every thirty five minutes.  They have managed to force twelve corners  - one every thirty seven minutes - but have conceded thirty three.  Confidence is at an all time low. We could be playing Welling or Bromley and confidence wouldn't be high. In fact, as some supporters have noted, we could be playing them soon at this rate.

The team and the club are in disarray.  Supporter anger is growing but so is supporter apathy. Saturday's game will be played out in front of a small but antagonistic home crowd and a sizeable and celebratory gathering from Yorkshire.  While the score is 0-0 there will be some modicum of enthusiasm but, if Wednesday take the lead, the atmosphere will become toxic and heads on the field will drop.

Injuries to Cousins and Gudmundsson threaten to weaken the starting eleven even further although it is to be hoped that Simon Makienok is nearer to full fitness.  Although it is pleasing to see Academy players like Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Ademola Lookman breaking through it is more a sign of the weakness of the squad that they and Ahearne-Grant are getting near the first team at all.  And, of course, introducing young players before they are ready into a toxic atmosphere is hardly a recipe for success.

Charlton have a new interim head coach whose task it is to mastermind a route out of this mess and it is a telling fact that few supporters will be wishing him much good luck.  Meanwhile, the man with a 41.2% success rate as manager of Charlton (making him the second most successful long term manager of all time) is unemployed.